Family Holiday to Far North Queensland, Part 3

Today is the third and final instalment of our recent family holiday. (If you haven’t been following along, my little family, along with my parents, and one of my sisters and her family spent some time away together. You can read the previous parts here and here)

We left Cairns behind, and made our way south to our next stop at Ingham. This is the part of the holiday I was most looking forward to – my brother and I were born in Ingham! **Warning! Photo overload alert!**

We chose to take the inland road from Cairns, over the Atherton Tablelands. As we left the coast and climbed the mountain, the temperature dropped around 15 degrees C. We had lots of mist, fog and some rain, and there was an enormous change in vegetation.

We drove via Ravenshoe, the highest town in Queensland, at over 920 metres above sea level. As we were getting closer to Ravenshoe, some strange objects emerged from the fog…windy-hill-qld-wind-farm

I’ve never seen a wind farm in real life, and our son had done a project on them earlier this year, so we stopped to have a look. This is the very aptly named Windy Hill wind farm, the first to be constructed in Queensland, in 1999. It was very eerie up there on that very windy hill, and we were surprised how loud the 20 turbines were. Later I learnt that Windy Hill was created by a basalt volcano, millions of years ago.

windy-hill-qld-wind-farm

Here is Ravenshoe Hotel, the highest in Queensland. They seem to be very keen on being the highest/widest/longest/whatever-est, don’t they?

ravenshoe-hotel

On the other side of Ravenshoe, we visited the Millstream Falls – the widest, single-drop falls in Australia. As it is still dry season here, we did not see the falls in their full glory, but they were pretty spectacular regardless! I believe in the wet season, water would be gushing at least to each side of this photo.

ravenshoe-qld-millstream-falls

As I mentioned, the vegetation changed significantly from down near the coast. While there was still sugarcane growing, we saw lots of bananas and pawpaw (papaya). We also saw large cattle farms. You can read about all the different varieties of fruit, and animal farming, that are produced in the region here. I was surprised at the huge range!

We met up with the rest of the family at Cardwell, before all driving down to Ingham together. We had lunch on the jetty at Cardwell, looking across to Hinchinbrook Island. We had glimpses of Hinchinbrook Island from our house in Ingham, and we’ve had a few day trips to the island, so it really felt like we were getting closer!

And then we were there!

welcome-to-ingham

We quickly dropped our bags off at Lees Hotel, Ingham, where we were staying for the night. Do you know Slim Dusty’s hit song “The Pub With No Beer?” Lees Hotel reckons they are the original pub! You can read about that story here. There are many pubs all across Australia who like to think they are the pub about which the song was written, but Lees Hotel has a pretty convincing argument!

We lived a short distance out of Ingham, on Victoria Estate. Dad worked for CSR, who owned Victoria Sugar Mill, and the reason we originally came to Ingham. At that time, Victoria Sugar Mill was the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. I don’t know if that is still the case, however it is certainly still one of the largest in Australia. The sugar mill is now owned by another company.

We only lived in Ingham for a reasonably short amount of time. My brother and I were born there, a couple of years later we moved back to Sydney. Dad was transferred back when I was in fourth grade at school. We moved back to Sydney when I finished 6th grade. We visited again for our primary school’s 100th birthday, but that was many years ago.

The sugar mill was certainly the focal point of Victoria Estate. Here is the little primary school we attended. It occupies a corner of the mill’s land.

vpss

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None of the houses we lived in are still there. They are just vacant blocks. But here is where one of our houses stood, looking towards the mill. We were the middle house of three, and they all looked the same from the outside.

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For a bit of perspective, here’s a photo looking across to this road. The white house you can see is the house from the above photo. The space is where our house stood, then there is another house to the right hidden behind the trees. The small church on the left is where I was christened!

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We also lived in this street. You can see that the cane field is just across the road

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One thing I had completely forgotten about was Sensitive Grass. I’ve not seen it anywhere else, and it is very cool stuff! Touching the leaves causes them to close up. We used to spend a lot of time touching this stuff, waiting for it to re-open or finding another patch, then closing it up again. Kids can find fun anywhere!

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Forrest Beach is the closest beach to Ingham, and the one we’d go to when we lived here. Even though it was late in the day when we visited, and a bit too cold to swim, the boys loved splashing in the water. Stinger season hadn’t quite arrived when we were there. For around half the year it is dangerous to swim at North Queensland beaches due to marine stingers.

forrest-beach

Finally, here are just a few shots from around the area

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Sugar cane is just a grass, right? Have you ever seen grass that grows this big??!! (That’s me on the right, in a pink top)

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I think our partners and children found it hard to believe we lived in this little town, with so much space. So different from the big, busy cities we live in now. My sister lives in Hong Kong, I live in Sydney.

It was such a great trip, and I loved sharing it with my family.

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